Papal Message to German Aid Project

«Adveniat Enables the Face of Christ … to Shine Ever More in Latin America»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2011 ( Here is a translation of a message Benedict XVI sent to Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen, Germany, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Adveniat aid project.

The message is dated Oct. 4 and was released by the Vatican this week.

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To My Venerable Brother Franz-Josef Overbeck, Bishop of Essen:

I learned with joy that the work of the charity Adveniat is celebrating its 50th anniversary in these days, and I wish to express my affectionate greetings and blessings to all who have arrived in Essen for the occasion.

During the season of Advent in 1961, the German bishops allocated for the first time the Christmas collection made throughout the national territory to pastoral projects of the Church in Latin America.

From this faithful relationship between the Church in Germany and brothers and sisters of South and Central America was born the work of aid Adveniat. Through their generous donations and unconditional commitment, German Catholics have carried out innumerable aid projects in countries of Latin America. This generous expression of Christian caritas merits sincere recognition.

The name Adveniat is the program. In fact, the charity has taken the name of the prayer of the Our Father, «Adveniat regnum tuum,» (Thy Kingdom come.) The Kingdom of God is introduced among us through the incarnation of Jesus and in the same way Christians are called to collaborate in the building of this Kingdom. In this connection, Adveniat enables the face of Christ, human and divine, to shine ever more in Latin America and cooperates decisively in the development of a vital society deserving of living in justice and peace. Through innumerable socio-charitable projects and formation programs, poor people without resources have received great support. Collaboration with the Kingdom of God has an essentially spiritual dimension. In the Our Father, Christ teaches us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom. We cannot simply bring it about because it is above all a gift. The Kingdom of God and the work of Christ go together. They unfold where, through the proclamation of the Good News and the celebration of the sacraments, the encounter with Him who is the Redeemer and Savior of men occurs. He himself is the source of peace and the giver of salvation. He does not allow our social effort to remain material, in an exterior and empty way, but he fills it with spirit and life. 

The work of aid Adveniat always tries to address man in his complexity, in his natural and supernatural needs. Hence the Kingdom of God truly arises in the midst of us. Already Blessed John XXIII, in his letter of Jan. 11, 1961, to the bishops of Germany, thanked them for their wise decision to «help Latin America.»

Today I wish to renew this gratitude and to say to you and to all the Catholics of Germany a Vergelt’s Gott with all my heart for these 50 years of fruitful aid. With joy I support Adveniat’s work for the people of Latin America with my prayers, in particular to Our Lady of Guadalupe, in addition to all the patron saints of Latin America.

From the Vatican, October 4, 2011

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